Friday, October 31, 2008

One step forward, two steps back...

It seems as though everytime we get good news, there is a damper of bad news around the corner. Last night around midnight I started having contractions, about every two minutes for abut 2 hours. The doctors started a new IV to try to pump me back with fluid to try to calm the contractions, and took blood to check my white blood cell count. They did see a jump in my white blood cells, which means that I might have an infection. This is a very strong possibility because I have been ruptured for so long. If I do have an infection, I might have to deliver soon. This really stinks because the longer that the baby stays in utero, the higher his chances for survival. I will find out later on today more information from the high risk doctors and I will keep you all updated. We really need your prayers more than ever right now, infection is really a bad thing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Some Good News...

Last night I got a visit from one of the MFM doctors (a high risk doctor in St. V's) to go over my ultrasound from earlier in the day. He did say he saw an improvement in the fluid!! This is great because as of Monday there was absolutely no fluid, so its just a great answer to prayer that over two days some fluid did come back. The baby wasn't swimming around in fluid like most babies, but there were some pockets. Many people don't know that amniotic fluid is baby urine, so as long as fluid doesn't leak out, it can replentish itself. Since I have been here on bedrest I am barely losing any fluid, unlike the last 4 weeks when I was at home. I will also get ultrasounds twice a week down in MFM, I will probably be in for my next on Monday or Tuesday, so pray really hard that this fluid does not go away and more accumulates. God is really being good to us, keep praying because I know he is listening! Alright well I am going to go count all the political ads that I see on tv, it helps pass the time, haha.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just a Few Updates

This morning I was taken down to MFM for another ultrasound, and everything is still looking well and on track. Still, they cannot check his digestive system or his lung development in those ultrasounds. My ultrasound tech showed me on Monday that she did see lung tissue, which is a good sign, but it is still no guarantee of actual lung development. I thought in this ultrasound that I spotted some pockets of fluid, but I am no pro at reading ultrasounds. A MFM doctor will probably be up later on today to tell me if he ended up seeing any fluid. This was an exciting trip for me today, because I got to get out of my room and see some different scenery.
Right now I am getting my last dose of antibiotics by IV, and will be put on oral antibiotics from here on out. My IV will stay in my arm, but will only be flushed every few hours or so to prevent blood clots from forming in it. Therefore I am not getting continuous fluid in my arm. This will make trips to the bathroom a whole lot easier!
Also, I found out that I have an anterior placenta, which is why the nurses are having such trouble listening to the baby's heart rate (this really stinks when they can't find it at 3 am). This just means that my placenta is located in front of the baby. This is not the reason that I am having problems with the baby. Here is what one website said about this: "Most of the time, a fertilized egg will situate itself in the posterior uterus — the part closest to your spine, which is where the placenta eventually develops, too. Sometimes, though, the egg implants on the opposite side of the uterus, closest to your abdomen. When the placenta develops, it grows on the front (or anterior) side of your uterus, with the baby behind it. Does the location of your placenta make any difference? Not to your baby, who doesn't care which side of the uterus he or she is lying on, and it certainly makes no difference to him or her where the placenta lies." This just makes it harder for me to feel him move in the front, but I think those steroid shots have really started working on him, because he has been moving quite a bit. The nurses and the MFM doctors have both told me that this means he is very strong because he really doesn't have any room to move in there. I told you he was a fighter :)
They might be moving my room sometime here since I am staying so stable. So there is the possibility that I will move over to Post Partum sometime in the future. I have no idea when this will be, no one really knows, they just tell me that it might happen. So this means that that my room number and phone number will change, so keep checking back to see where I am! Coincidently, my cell phone broke yesterday so I have been unable to receive any calls or messages that might have been left for me. Thankfully my lovely mother took care of everything and I will be getting my new phone tonight. Still, the hospital wants me to use my room phone, so just keep calling that.
I want to thank everyone for the messages of support and everyone for following our story. As you know this is a very difficult time for us, but hopefully we will get a wonderful gift out of all of this in the end.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Greetings from St. Vincents!

We have completed our first goal- make it long enough to get admitted into the hospital. Our next goal- stay stable until at least 27 weeks. Obviously 27 weeks isn't some magic week, but from the "research" that I have done, most babies make it through after 27 weeks. Nothing is promised, but I like setting these little goals to have something to work for. Alright so here is what went on today:
Jeremy and I arrived at Maternal Fetal Medicine to get an ultrasound to check the size of the baby and the fluid. Right now there is still no measureable amount of fluid (boo) but that was no new surprise. He currently weighs 1 lb 6 oz, give or take 3 ounces (right where he should be). That is big enough for me! I will be very excited when he reaches two pounds. They also checked the pressure of blood flowing through his chord, also very good (sometimes the chord collapses due to the lack or room and the pressure on the chord in the womb). He was moving all around, looking more precious than ever.
After MFM I was admitted into my new temporary home in labor and delivery. All the nurses were so amazing and told me that it is a miracle I haven't gone into labor yet. They informed me that we are fighters, so they are going to fight all they can along with us to help this baby. How wonderful! Initially I was supposed to be hooked up to a heart rate monitor for the baby and be checked every two hours for my temperature and blood pressure, but at this point we know nothing can be that easy. The baby is being very ornery right now and making it very hard to keep a steady heart rate on him. The doctors decided that instead of the constant monitoring, a nurse will come in every hour to check the baby's heart rate. So yes- I will be woken up every hour throughout the night. His heart rate is staying between 145-150, very good! (Some say if the heart rate is over 140, its a girl- remember that we don't know for sure if this is a boy!)
Despite that one little "issue" everything else has gone according to plan. I got my first steroid shot this morning, my first of two. This was somewhat unpleasant, but the nurses told me that these shots make the world of difference in these type of situations. These shots are an asset in the development of our baby's lungs. Unfortunately, there is nothing that they can do to help his digestive system, which apparently can be a whole new issue. But God won't give him anything he can't handle! I also am getting antibiotics through an IV every six hours for one hour at a time. Eventually I will take these orally, they just want to get it fully flushed into my system to start me out. Preventing infection is essential! So please, please, please do not come visit me if you feel ill or even have a stuffy nose. Thank you in advance :) I also have these cool little leg warmer looking things on my legs that constantly inflate and deflate with air. This prevents me from getting blood clots into my legs due to the fact that I am barely moving my legs through the day.
We also got a visit from the neonatologist in the NICU, where our baby will be staying after he is born. She was extremely nice, preparing us for all the complications the baby might have once he is born. She told us that most preemie babies are jaundiced, which is really no big deal when treated. There were also other things she told us that were easy to understand when she explained them, but too difficult (confusing, not emotionally) to explain. Know that pretty much everything if fixable over time! He will also get antibiotics once he is born and be fed through an IV because he will be too small to eat on his own.
Now, on to my information. I am at St. Vincent's in the labor and delivery wing room 701. There are no visiting hours, come as you please, but know that I will probably want you gone by 10 pm. Also, I am not technically supposed to use my cell phone, so you can call my room at 419-251-5370 if you want to call and check up on me. I really really really would love if you would come and visit me- as long as you are healthy! Alright well I think that is it, check back soon!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Officially Viable!

Jeremy and I on our last night out for a while.
Peanut and Kiwi cuddling together on the couch. I am going to miss those guys sooooo much!

I know that I said I was going to update everything on Monday, but I was a little unsure about what my internet situation in the hospital would be, and I also wanted to share some pictures. I'm pretty sure I will be able to get online once I am settled in the afternoon, so we will see!
Tonight Jeremy and I went out to dinner because he thought I might need one last night out of the house with some good food before I'm couped up in the hospital with their food. But I can promise you that no food can be worse than the food I had to eat at Flagler freshman year, so I am not too worried.
Today the baby is officially viable which means that they must fight for him once he is born. YAY! We are just one step closer, which is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Check back soon!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Less than four days until St. V's!

Today I had a regular checkup appointment with my doctor. The doctors that I usually talk about are in Maternal Fetal Medicine, and none of them are my regular doctor that will be delivering the baby. They just monitor my weekly ultrasounds, and basically come up with a plan on how we can give this baby every chance to make it out alive.
At this appointment we got to hear the heartbeat again which always lights my face up, because it reassures me that he is not giving up- so neither are we. I am already so proud of him :) This appointment was also very informational as to what is going to happen when I am in the hospital.
I will go in on Monday with Jeremy to get another ultrasound to check for fluid. They are also going to check the weight of the baby because it also has to weigh a certain amount to qualify him for viability. I think that it is one pound (but I'm not positive) and three weeks ago he was 14 oz so I am pretty sure he is viable at this point. I have grown a lot in these last few weeks! These Monday ultrasounds at Maternal Fetal Medicine will continue for the duration of my stay at St. V's.
After my ultrasound I will get my first steroid shot and then be admitted. These are not an ongoing treatment as I first thought. It will be two shots, 24 hours apart, and then that is it for the steroids. While I am admitted I will have an IV that administers antibiotics, so I don't get an infection. She told me this will probably last for about 5 days, and then I will be taking them orally. I will also be visited by my doctor daily.
I was informed that I will have to have a Classical cesarean to birth this baby. This is unlike normal Low Transverse (bikini cut) that most women have. A Classical cesarean is a vertical incision in the main body of the uterus whereas a Low Transverse is a horizontal incision in the lower uterus. Having this will prevent extra stress on the baby. This approach involves more bleeding in surgery, and creates a higher risk of infection after pregnancy. Having a Classical cesarean also means that all subsequent deliveries must be done this way because there is a high risk that the scar will rupture. From the stories that I have heard and the research I have done, I know that this will be a very painful recovery.
This baby will stay inside of me until I go into labor or I get an infection. Hopefully once the antibiotics are started, infection won't be such an issue. I know that the longer the baby is staying inside of me the better. Most women go into labor within 24 hours to a week after their water breaks, so each day that I don't go into labor is a blessing. My goal is to stay in the hospital for at least a month, but the longer I am there the better.
Monday I will update you all with my room number and all the important information you need to know to come and visit me. I will really need the company, so I would love to have any visitors! Please keep praying for a miracle baby, and that I regain fluid. Check back Monday for more updates!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wishing I was 24 weeks...

Well I just got back from my weekly visit to Maternal Fetal Medicine at St. Vincent's, and I am a little disappointed. Thankfully my temperature is still down, the baby's heart rate is average at 141 bpm, and my blood pressure has stayed normal. They do not see any fluid now, whereas before there was a small pocket by the baby. To me, little fluid is better than no fluid but the doctor acted as if it didn't really matter. I guess I was just hoping that the tear would repair itself and the fluid would regain itself, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case. Keep praying for miracles! Also, I found out today that I will not be admitted until next Monday. So I will go into Maternal Fetal Medicine at 7 am, get an ultrasound, and then get admitted. I just want to get admitted so bad, and I know I will be more relaxed once I get into the hospital.
On a more positive note, my mom got to feel the baby kick, and Jeremy is able to feel him every now and then. My mom has really been a great help to us by constantly making dinner (with the exception of Nancy Dolan's dinner-thanks Nancy!), because there is no way Jeremy could get that done every night. Also, I want to thank Kyla for the books she sent me, I read through one in 2 days, and I am about to start on the next. If anyone has read an inspirational book that they could suggest that would be great! Jeremy will be making a trip to the library for me sometime before Monday so I will be able to waste time while in the hospital. Also, I have heard that many people are not able to leave comments, if you are having problems you can just email me at with anything you might want to say to me.
I have another appointment with my doctor on Thursday, so check back then for more updates!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another day closer...

Today was an exciting day for me! This morning I received a great surprise from my cousin Suzy, which instantly put a smile on my face, but I think the little guy was pretty excited too because he started moving around like crazy! Any movement is a celebration, because it is a confirmation that he is alive and kicking. I think he moved more than I have ever felt today, which is such an amazing feeling.
I also got a visit from my grandma and mom today. My grandma made rivels, which is one of my favorite meals of all time, so that was also another positive for the day.
I really want to thank you all for checking in and praying for us. It is so exciting to read all of your comments, they make us so happy!

Update: Jeremy felt the baby move for the first time tonight! It was a great moment for us :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How it all began...

Hello all! First of all I want to thank all of you for listening to our story and praying for us, and we encourage you to keep doing so. Many of you don't really know all that is going on, so this blog was started to keep everyone as informed and up-to-date as possible. This first entry is going to be a lot longer than others because I have to catch everyone up on what has been going on these past months, and explain how these events have affected one another, so please bear with me!
When I was twelve weeks pregnant (Aug 8), I started bleeding very heavily. I was very scared that I had lost the baby, so I rushed to the emergency room to get everything checked out. I was there for six hours being monitored, getting blood work taken, and getting my first ultrasound. In the end I was told that everything looked good and normal, and whatever happened didn't affect the baby, and that the baby was fine. Nothing was explained to me as to why the bleeding happened; I was just relieved that he was alright.
I am still being told by other doctors that bleeding in the first trimester is pretty normal.
At nineteen weeks (Sep 17) I began bleeding again, this time no where near the extent as the first. I was concerned, so my doctor scheduled me an appointment at Toledo Hospital. She told me that they have great technology there that could spot exactly where the bleeding was coming from, and that they were also going to do another ultrasound to make sure the baby was doing alright. This is when we found out that we are probably going to have a boy. They sent the pictures to my doctor to examine them; she called me and told me everything looked fine.
Once again, as long as the baby was doing alright, then I was at ease.
At twenty-one weeks (Oct 6) Jeremy and I went in to get another ultrasound. This one was scheduled, and they wanted me to keep it because there are certain specific things they look at in an ultrasound after 20 weeks. Once the ultrasound was done, she told us that she was going to have the head doctor check out the pictures because it looked like there was fluid lacking around the baby, and in ultrasounds that fluid acts like a window to see the baby more clearly, and she was having a little trouble viewing everything she needed to. Jeremy and I waited patiently to see the doctor, laughing and giggling about how cute he looked opening and closing his mouth and wiggling his fingers. We were never prepared for the news we were about to get. He sat us down and told us that the lack of fluid prevents the baby from getting the nourishment that he needs, and without fluid his lungs will not develop. We were basically given two options: 1. Termination 2. Go full term, but he wouldn't make it long after I gave birth. This was by far the worst day of my entire life. I just didn't understand how there wasn't anything else I could do to try to help him make it. We knew we couldn't give up on him, and termination was just not an option for us. Our baby is a fighter, and we could not just live our lives wondering if he could have made it.
So we decided for a second opinion.
The next day (Oct 7) my mom, Jeremy, and I went to see my doctor to see what she had to say. She was as surprised as we were, because less than two weeks ago everything was fine. She said that this is a wanted baby, so why not try all that we can. She referred us over to St. Vincent's, and got us an appointment later that day. I was given another ultrasound, and their doctor came in to talk to us. He told us that I have pPROM (preterm premature rupture of the membranes) something that happens in about 1% of pregnant women. This means that my water had broken some time in between my 19 week ultrasound and my 21 week ultrasound. This was most likely caused by the bleeding that I had previously. This is bad for two reasons: 1. That fluid is something that helps the baby's lungs to develop (this we knew) and 2. My risk of infection is very high. Due to the fact that there is no mucus plug protecting the baby now, the tear in the amniotic sac could easily get infected. This is not good for either me or the baby. So now I must take my temperature at least twice a day, to make sure that it has not risen. This doctor provided me with a different option (way better than Toledo Hospital). He said I needed to take it easy (bed rest) and drink an overabundance of water until I could be admitted at 24 weeks (at 24 weeks the baby is viable, that is why we must wait until then). There I would be monitored more closely, given antibiotics to prevent infection, and the baby would be given steroids to help speed up his lung development. Until then I would be monitored weekly to make sure my hormone levels are up, my temperature is down, my blood pressure is down, and the baby is still going strong. He also said that on the ultrasound that everything else looked like it was developing well, but there were some things (his lips and things in the brain) that he couldn't see, but he saw them on my 19 week pictures, so all is well there. I know many of you might be thinking- Abby why can't they go in and inject more fluid into you to see if it will stay? The doctor said that this increases my chances of going into labor, and it is like trying to blow up a balloon with a hole in it. With all of my bleeding that I have had, this process would be more detrimental to the baby than anything. We were also told that they are going to do all that they can, but if 100 women came in with this problem, about 10-15 of them would have a baby that made it out alive.
But we have God and your prayers on our side so I am very optimistic.
Yesterday (October 15) I went in with my mom for my weekly checkup. There is still only a small pocket of fluid, but hormone levels are good, along with his heartbeat. So no new news is good news to me. We saw a new doctor, who said that the baby is breech (he kind of looks like he is folded in half with his legs up by his head) and that he has seen in a few cases where the baby's rear end kind of plugs up the hole as he grows and lets the fluid regain itself. We are hoping something like that will happen. He also asked when I would be 24 weeks (Oct 25) and he told me he would get me admitted the day before- Friday, October 24th and start steroids at midnight. I thought that was pretty amazing of him. He told us that faith and staying stress-free would also be very helpful to the I am doing just that.

Alright well I think that is it for now, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers and stay tuned for more to come!

19 weeks

22 weeks 2 days...His head is on the left, tummy on the right

Jeremy and Me...he is taking very good care of me :)

My mom and me...I have no idea what I would do without her right now.